What I’m currently reading: When Women Were Dragons

I’ve probably blogged about this before, and I’ll doubtless blog about it again: reading! It’s one of the biggest benefits of being a writer. Heck, it’s one of the biggest benefits of being a human.


At last, something we agree on!




It’s wonderfully reaffirming to have concurrence with both my inner fourteen-year-old, Lily, and with you, 9, the official inner nine-year-old. What have you two been reading lately?


Biographies! They have a ton of them in the Lincoln School library. I also really like the Oz books, but I’ve read most of them already.


Wonderful! How about you, Lily?


I am absolutely in love with novels about the six wives of Henry VIII. And it’s always fun to re-read the Narnia Chronicles.


Some things never change. I love reading history and fantasy, too. Lately, as part of my search for a literary agent, I’ve been reading not only the dreaded “comps” to compare my work to for marketing purposes but books that agents read just for fun.


The Maid (Nita Prose © 2022)-A young woman who is terrible at reading social cues works as a maid in a luxury hotel. She unwittingly becomes a “mule” for a drug cartel that operates out of the hotel, and is later charged with the murder of a super-wealthy guest who happens to be the cartel boss. The maid, Mary Gray, is an acute observer but has neither judgment nor filters. She’s a kind of weird innocent, also a powerhouse cleaner! The story is told entirely from her point of view. I felt both pity for Mary and humor for her naiveté, could relate to her innocent desire for love and how she mourned the recently deceased gran who raised her. Mary is sweet natured but has a homicidal streak- -to say anymore would be a spoiler. Interestingly the author, Nita Prose, has worked as a literary agent herself for years. This is her first published novel.


Lessons in Chemistry (Bonnie Garmus © 2022)-Elizabeth Zott, female chemist in the 1950s and 60s, experiences extreme sexism (including sexual assault) in the workplace and eventually leaves the world of scientific research for the world of television cooking shows- -which she delivers in a scientific manner that inspires her growing audience of female viewers to change the status quo. A really fun read with enjoyably unconventional characters and some nifty plot twists. This is also a first book, from author Bonnie Garmus.


When Women Were Dragons (Kelly Barnhill © 2022) An alternate history about the Mass Dragoning of 1955 when (according to the cover blurb) “hundreds of thousands of ordinary wives and mothers sprouted wings, scales and talons; left a trail of fiery destruction in their paths; and took to the skies.” You missed that event? Now’s your chance to catch up! A highly original look at feminism and the dangers of the societal repression of women. Full disclosure: I’m about halfway through this one and am riveted.


So a mystery, plus two books that combine history and fantasy?


Exactly, Lily. As you can see, our reading tastes haven’t changed over the decades.




I think so too, 9.


Wishing you all a weekend that includes something really, really fun to read!

Reading. I’m trying to untangle this passion from a passion to collect books!. Here’s my donation to the local AAUW chapter for their gigantic annual book sale February 24-26, 2023. An unparalleled opportunity to pick up some excellent reads at bargain prices! https://www.aauwwallawalla.org/book-sale

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